Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Panchavateeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Brihannayaki, Kalyana Sundari|
|Timing:||6 to 10 & 5 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu Sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Anandatandavapuram||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (8 km)||Kumbakonam (45 km)|
|Thiruvarur (51 km)||Nagapattinam (58 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This temple’s fascinating sthala puranam involves two of the 63 Nayanmars. Manakkanjaran of the Velallar community was a warrior, and led several missions for the king. He was also a devout Saivite, aided by his wife Kalyanasundari. But the couple did not have a child. After many years of worshipping Siva, they became parents of Punyavardhini, who grew up as a strong, healthy girl, with beautiful long hair. The parents found a suitable groom for their daughter, in Eyarkon Kalikamar, another great devotee of Siva.
The day before the wedding, another Siva devotee belonging to the Kapalika Bairagi sect, came to the place. After taking a bath in the temple’s tank, he approached Manakkanjarar and asked for hair from the girl’s head – as was his sect’s custom – to use as his sacred thread. Manakkanjarar instantly cut off his daughter’s tresses to fulfil the devotee’s wishes. The assembled guests and others were shocked at this, when the newly-arrived devotee revealed his identity, to be none other than the Lord Himself. Kalikamar, who just then reached the scene, started wailing – lamenting that only if the Lord / devotee had asked for the hair one day later, he would have had the pleasure of gifting the hair of the person who would be his wife! The Lord then blessed the two devotees and everyone else present there. And even as the Lord was holding the girl’s hair in His hands, Punyavardhini was seen sporting her usual beautiful tresses! Manakkanjara and Punyavardhini, together with the Lord, are cast in stucco on the arch near the dhwajasthambam.
In a slightly different version, after Manakkanjarar cut off the girl’s hair, his wife prayed to the local deity – Ayyanar – for a replacement of the hair. This was instantly done, and so Ayyanar, who was earlier called Tiruvarasamurti, came to be called Aramudeeswarar (Aramudi is the term for new hair grown in place of old). The temple for Aramudeeswarar is very close to the Siva temple, and Ayyanar is present with consorts Sundarambal and Sokkayi (instead of Poorna and Pushkala).
Later, both Manakkanjarar and Kalikamar were elevated to the status of Nayanmars. The utsava murti of the Lord here – named Jatanathar –is seen holding strands of hair in His hand.
Anandamuni was a resident of this village, and using his yogic powers, would travel through the sky to various places every day – Rameswaram for his morning bath, Mahendragiri for meditation, and Chidambaram for the Ardhajama puja (last puja of the day) and to witness Siva’s Tandavam. One day he was unable to do so because of torrential rains. Ashamed of this, he attempted suicide. To ensure His devotee did not miss out on his daily worship, Siva Himself appeared there and danced the Ananda Tandavam. The name of the village derives from this story.
Because of this puranam, this temple is regarded as being as important as the 5 pancha sabhai temples.
This temple features two Ammans – Brihannayaki and Kalyanasundari (for whom Manakkanjarar’s wife was named). There is a puranam to this as well. Sage Bharadwaja performed penance here, and Siva appeared with Parvati as Brihannayaki, to the sage. Bharadwaja, however, also wanted to see Amman as a bride, and so She appeared as Kalyana Sundari, in Her wedding attire. It is believed that Kaumari – one of the seven Sapta Matrikas – worshipped Siva.
This is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam featuring in one of Appar’s pathigams. One of the ancient names of this place is Kayatharu or Kanjarur (in Appar’s reference), after which the Nayanmar Manakkanjarar takes his name.
This place also has a very interesting Ramayanam connection. In Hindu time-scales, every Kalpa has four yugams. In each Kalpa, the Ramayanam is said to take place, and so in one particular Kalpa, it is believed to have occurred in southern India. This place was the Panchavati in that version of the Ramayanam, and Siva’s name as Panchavateeswarar derives from this. Chitrakootam (Chidambaram), Vaitheeswaran Koil (site of Jatayu’s cremation by Rama), and other places like Kollumangudi, also are said to belong to this version.
The temple’s Teertham – called Bindu Saras – gets is name from the drop of amritam (Bindu) that fell here, when Garuda was carrying the pot of nectar.
The structural temple is 12th or 13th century Chola, and although there are believed to be inscriptions here, they have not been identified yet. As such, it is not clear as to which kings have contributed to the temple.
Other information for your visit
Gopalakrishna Bharati, the 19th century poet and composer of Nandanar Charitram, hails from this village, as does his preceptor Govinda Yati. The village honours the composer annually, with a music and cultural festival held in his honur.
The temple priest and his family live in the house to the north of the temple on the same street. Even if the temple doors are closed during normal opening times, they will be able to open the temple for devotees.
Karthik: 98658 85780